A mobile SIM card distributor was caught in Telangana after Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) regional office issued a complaint against the SIM distributor about illegal Aadhaar linking. According to a report by Times of India Hyderabad, P Santosh Kumar, the distributor at the center of the fraud forged “physical fingerprints” to activate more than 6,000 SIM cards using the Aadhaar-based eKYC system.
To achieve this, Kumar downloaded the Aadhaar credentials of people from registration and stamps department of the Telangana government and then created his own Aadhaar database. The reason this was possible was that of the ease of availability of the fingerprints on the Internet from the property registration documents submitted in the Registration and Stamps Department.
A report by The Wire pointed out that Kumar boiled down the cost of forging anyone’s fingerprints to use biometric authentication to about Rs 125. This means that he would impersonate anyone less than Rs 150. The cost of getting the property documents “legally” from the same department in the state of Telangana amounts from Rs 210 to Rs 235. The report went on to detail that each document would include details of one buyer, one seller, and two witnesses. These details included the names, addresses, date of birth and fingerprints allowing Kumar to make an Aadhaar database entry for about Rs 50-60 for one person.
The original report pointed out that Kumar forged “physical fingerprints” ad we are sure that you may be confused by what that means. This means that Kumar used the pictures of the fingerprints found in the property registration documents to create molds of the fingerprints using polymer printing with the help of a special printer to fool a biometric reader.
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Kumar learned all the required skills for fingerprint manufacturing technique with the help of online videos. The Wire added that replicating a fingerprint to a mound runs to about Rs 75 making the total cost to about Rs 125 in obtaining the photos of the fingerprints and then creating a mound for eKYC linking.
After the arrest, Kumar confessed to the fraud noting that he received a “handsome commission” from the telecom company for activating about 6,000 SIM cards in just about a month. However, excess usage of a single machine for eKYC verification raised suspicion and prompted UIDAI to investigate.